Discrimination and harassment in the workplace are against the law. However, it isn’t always easy to prove an employer did anything illegal. Business leaders have many skills and tools at their disposal to defend themselves. To prove an employer’s behavior is illegal, despite knowing their actions are against the law, is a unique challenge.
Proving you have been discriminated against requires establishing a legal claim that your employer engaged in a discriminatory action (firing, demoting, denying a promotion/raise, etc.) based on attributes such as age, gender, race, and other protected classes. You can do this with:
- Direct Evidence: An employer tells you, verbally or in writing, you are being fired because you’re near retirement age, or that only employees under a specific age are eligible for a raise.
- Circumstantial Evidence: Most company personnel are well-trained in covering up their biases, but you can connect statements you overheard with adverse actions to draw your conclusion.
Types of Discrimination Claims
When most people think of workplace discrimination, they think of discriminatory intent/treatment, or when an employee is treated worse because they’re part of a protected class. A disparate impact claim is one based on how a policy or practice has a discriminatory impact although it wasn’t intended to. Retaliation is when an employee is treated adversely as a punishment for filing a complaint.
What You Need
Direct and circumstantial evidence can be used to prove discrimination occured. But to do so, you will need documentation your attorney can use to establish a claim and file a lawsuit. The documents you will need to show them include your:
- Personnel file: Provides a record of your behavior and performance at work. It will show if you received poor performance evaluations or whether there have been disciplinary warnings or actions against you in the past.
- Employee handbook: Employers often distribute copies of their policies to employees, including anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies. By law, they are expected to follow these, so your handbook can help strengthen your case if these practices aren’t followed.
- Journal entries: A record of the date, time, and location of harassment or discriminatory actions along with descriptions and notes from witnesses can be useful in building your claim.
- Physical evidence: If you have written documents stating an employer took adverse action against you due to gender, race, or you having filed a compliant, or a vulgar picture was left near your workspace, keep photos or documents that can prove it.
- Medical records: If your employer’s actions contributed to, for example, developing high blood pressure or seeking mental counseling, provide your attorney with the contact information of medical professionals who have treated you.
- Pay stubs: Your pay records, before and after the illegal activity, can prove improper behavior occurred and resulted in lost time from work, so your attorney can recover lost wages.
Also, if there were witnesses to any incidents of discrimination or harassment, provide their names and contact information to your attorney. Your lawyer can then communicate directly with these witnesses who may support to refute your allegations, which can make or break your case.
Contact A Workplace Discrimination Lawyer
Devoted to protecting workers’ rights in Los Angeles, Lawyers for Justice has the experience to hold employers accountable for harassment and discrimination. It is unfortunate that many companies don’t treat all employees equally and fairly. If you have been harassed, discriminated against, had wages reduced, or have been terminated for the wrong reasons, contact us today for a free consultation by calling 818-587-8432.